LEGO wah-wah pedal

Here’s a guitar wah-wah pedal that [Christian Munk] built. Inside you’ll find a circuit board that he etched and populated based on this design but he chose to build the housing out of LEGO. The video after the break gives you an idea of what it sounds like, but for those who’ve stepped on a LEGO piece with bare feet, his pedal pounding might make you cringe!

To manipulate the sound the pedal rocks forward and backward on a center pivot shown above as a grey “nut” sticking out the side of the frame. Inside there’s a system of LEGO gears that turn a trimpot to alter the sound. This might go along nicely with that guitar amp you hacked together.

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Guitar tube-amp from junk hi-fi

[Tristan Chambers] picked up an old speaker box some friends acquired at a yard sale. It didn’t have any inputs, and there weren’t any tuning knobs like a radio would have, so it’s a mystery what this was originally used for. [Tristan] traced out the circuit and figured out where he could input audio signals which allowed him to hook up an iPod, but it was mono and not very loud. He ended building his own vacuum tube preamp from a schematic he found on the Internet so that he could use it with an electric guitar. As the video after the break shows, the box not only puts out some pretty good sound but it’s nice and loud too.

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Zipitbot

[Nulluser's] Zipit was fine, but it couldn’t go anywhere on its own. Adding some motors and a microcontroller fixed that issue, and now he’s got a little robot called the Zipitbot. That’s a dsPIC board on top which communicates with the Zipit over an I2C bus. Four servo motors provide plenty of power to the wheels,with some extra battery packs nestled between them.

Since the Zipit is running Linux, and already has WiFi hardware, it’s not too hard to add Internet control. With this in mind there’s a webcam on the front to broadcast a video feed for use when controlling it remotely. See a couple of videos of this hack after the break.

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Rapatronic shutter; snap a pic of an atomic bomb

We never really thought about it before, but this post about Rapatronic Shutters answers the question of how to photograph an atomic bomb detonation. The post includes an MIT video where [Charles Wyckoff] explains how he and [Harold Edgerton] developed the Rapatronic Camera. It is designed to snap a photograph based on zero time, marked by the X-ray transmission emanating from the bomb before it actually explodes. This pulse is picked up by a light sensor on a delay circuit, allowing for very precise exposure timing. Many of these cameras were used at the same time, all with slightly different delays so that the images could be viewed in order to show what happens during each stage of detonation.

[Thanks Petrus]

Intermediate Concepts: Building discrete transistor gates

[Simon Inns] has put together a lesson in digital logic which shows you how to build your own gates using transistors. The image above is a full-adder that he fabricated, then combined with other full adders to create a 4-bit computer.

Don’t know what a full adder is? That’s exactly what his article is for, and will teach you about binary math and how it is calculated with hardware. There’s probably at least a week’s worth of studying in that one page which has been further distilled into the five-minute video after the break. Although building this hardware yourself is a wonderful way to learn, there’s a lot of room for error. You might consider building these circuits in a simulator program like Atanua, where you can work with logic gate symbols, using virtual buttons and LEDs as the outputs. Once you know what you’re doing with the simulator you’ll have much more confidence to start a physical build like the one [Simon] concocted.

Finding this project a little too advanced? Check out our Beginner Concepts articles to help get you up to speed.

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